Improving Financial Literacy

by Patrick Liew on September 15, 2016

I trust the government will address roots of the problems and not just the symptoms when it reviews the CPF Investment Scheme.

For example, the National Financial Literacy Survey 2005 indicates that many Singaporeans and especially those from the lower socioeconomic segment may not have the required mindset, knowledge and skills to generate equitable returns on their savings.

Results from the survey show that about half of the respondents were not inclined to learn how to better manage their money and about 34 percent of respondents have a wrong perspective about financial planning.

About 54 percent of the respondents felt that they should begin financial planning once they start working, but only 32 percent indicated an intention to actually act on it.

To help our people strengthen their financial position on a sustainable basis, the government should engage key stakeholders from the public, private, people and political sectors to develop a blueprint to improve financial literacy level on a national level.

The blueprint should aim to help all Singaporeans from different background and across all ages, including those who are lowly educated and the elderly.

Financial education should start from the young and continue at every stage of the formal educational process and throughout the lifelong learning journey.

As schools and teachers may not be fully equipped to conduct financial education and help students become self-regulated learners and investors, they should engage the help of relevant parties from the community and financial industry.

These volunteers can bring real-world wisdom and experience to the classroom. They can help to conduct practical and hands-on exercises to help students inculcate effective competence in financial investment.

Students should be assessed on a regular basis to ensure they have cultivated essential knowledge and skills. They are able to upgrade themselves to capitalise on evolving financial schemes and tools, and other opportunities in the new economy.

Employers should also help to upgrade their workers’ financial intelligence. By doing so, they can prevent their workers from incurring unnecessary debts that will affect their productivity and results.

The People Association can also do their part in conducting appropriate financial investment programmes and projects in community centres. They can help residents improve their financial literacy through relevant financial literacy projects and activities.

The government should continue to educate our people and help prevent them from adopting a gambler’s mentality in the investment market and spending beyond their means. It should protect consumers from bringing upon themselves detrimental financial burdens by regulating financial institutions and instituting safeguards in major financial transactions.

Money may not be the most important asset in life but when properly earned and utilized, it can do a lot of good to the people and environment around us.


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

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